New cars and trucks come with an array of safety features designed to reduce traffic accidents on roads in West Virginia and elsewhere. Unfortunately, many new vehicles are also stocked with distracting electronic gadgets, including infotainment and GPS systems, that could increase the risk of car crashes.
West Virginia residents 21 and older who are caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher will be guilty of drunk driving. This is the legal limit through most of the U.S., though it is considered the highest limit in the world. Some countries, such as Brazil and Russia, have a zero-tolerance policy where no one can drive with alcohol in the blood.
West Virginia drivers may be interested in learning how external airbags could make passengers safer. The idea of external airbags is not something new. In fact, technology is reaching the point where the concept is feasible. Testing has shown that external airbags may reduce the severity of passenger injuries by up to 40 percent.
There's a good chance that many West Virginia residents with driver assistance systems in their vehicles are relying too much on them to stay safe. As a result, they may be putting themselves and others at risk. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has called attention to this fact in a report, and some of its statistics are alarming.
West Virginia residents may want to learn more about rear automatic braking because a new report has shown how effective it is in preventing backup crashes. In fact, it can reduce the number of backup crashes by 62 percent, and that number jumps up to 78 percent when the tech is combined with rearview cameras and sensors. This is important because backup crashes often result in extensive property damage and serious injuries. Many young children have died in backup crashes, too.
Dangerous intersections in West Virginia could be made safer if roundabouts are installed instead of stop signs or traffic lights. According to studies by the United States Department of Transportation, roundabouts reduce serious and fatal accidents by 78 to 82 percent. A serious motor vehicle accident, also known as an "A" accident, is defined as an accident that causes broken bones, massive loss of blood or unconsciousness to occur.
In a recent study regarding distracted driving, 68 percent of respondents were not easily convinced of the hazards of texting while behind the wheel. This could be of major concern for West Virginia motorists. Overall, the researchers found that certain groups are more prone to distracted driving. These include females as well as those who are less concerned about safety and individuals who frequently use tech devices.
Residents of West Virginia who are thinking of taking a road trip during the summer should know this season is an especially risky one for drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that the summer sees 20 percent more miles driven than the winter; the months of June, July and August also see 29 percent more road deaths than December, January and February.
While many drivers in West Virginia think that wearing a seatbelt is unnecessary, the proof of its effectiveness is stacked against them. A recent study from NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn adds to that list, as researchers have found that seatbelt use lowers the risk for severe liver injuries in a car accident.
Far too many drivers in West Virginia and across the United States continue to operate a vehicle while distracted, according to the results of a survey published by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Since 2013, the number of drivers who report holding cell phone conversations behind the wheel on a regular basis has risen 46 percent. At the same time, 88 percent of participants expressed serious concern about distracted driving, noting that it is a rising issue that is becoming more prominent.